Here we go again

I have a buddy here at Undisclosed.

Oh yeah…shocker. I have a buddy.

Well, I do have a few, but this one is a fellow cancer survivor, for now. She is once again dealing with the ugly beast beating at her door.

Her cancer is back, but this time with a vengeance.

Her breast cancer has spread to her spine.There aren’t too many folks around here who understand what folks who have cancer feel, which is what drew the both of us together.Now that it is back, while I am here full-time, she has to start daily radiation and chemo. I told her that since I am not working, if she’s around, and wants company, to text me and I’d go over and keep her company.

I have learned not to promise someone with cancer that there is tomorrow, because there may not be. I can help them with their journey as folks have helped me. Fortunately I have, for now, made it through.But even for us who have “made it through”, no one gets a guarantee.

All I can do is to pray for her and be a friend. It’s a scary time, and no one should go it alone.

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18 Years ago…..

Eighteen years ago, I was thirty-three years old. I had moved out on my own. And three months into my independence, I had a really bad lower back ache. You know how when you are hurting eventually you can get yourself into a position to fall asleep? Well, that November, I had my first 48 hours of NO sleep-the pain was that intense.

A visit to my gynecologist, who was an old guy in his late 70’s and on staff at Jefferson, revealed a cervical tumor the size of a grapefruit. Funny how as I never had any issues before in my life and here you go: what do I get butmy first one comes out of the gate like gangbusters. I was on the doorstep of stage three cancer.

Welcome to the world of cancer.

Fortunately, I had the luck of being sent down to a oncologic gynecological surgeon, Charles Dunton, who was working on a protocol for cervical cancer. I had daily radiation, chemotherapy, a radiation implant, and two weeks prior to my scheduled total hysterectomy, my pre-operative exam found NO tumor! The surgeon said he would have never know what was there, if he hadn’t been in on my case from the beginning. They had to do my surgery, because there was no guarantee the cancer hadn’t gone into my lymph nodes.One of my BFF’s, Kate, would come down from Pittsburgh on the weekends when I was in Jeff and there is no better buddy in the world…**Note to Kate-how I remember those 7th floor Gibbon visits-you ALWAYS were my rock!**

Fast forward through later cancers and health issues, loss of family members, finding my Jim, gaining two girls named Zush and Kasia, and my mother’s dementia.

God has me here for a reason, although when friends are suddenly gone due to cancer, I will be the first to admit the survivor’s guilt is great. I no longer wonder why I am still here. I just accept it, give thanks for it and realize a greater statement was never made than….” If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.’